Genetics and biomarkers for social scientists

These new one-day courses on 4th and 5th April 2013 sound interesting, and I haven’t seen this cross-fertilising approach before, opening up tools from biostatistics to social scientists. It makes sense really, as observational research rarely involves only health and not social factors, or vice versa. Also, because both genetics / -omics researchers and social scientists are both really into dimension reduction, although they do it for different reasons and call it different things.

BIOMARKERS for Social Scientists:

New approaches to studying associations between social factors and health include making use of data on biomarkers, now available in an increasing number of UK datasets. However, fully exploiting these data requires an understanding of what they are measuring, how they are collected, their biological variability and the associated measurement issues that derive, for example, from how specimens are collected and stored.

AIMS – this introductory course will review these issues using examples based on biomarkers available in mainstream UK studies, such as the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.


GENETICS for Social Scientists:

Recent years have seen an explosion in the incorporation of genetic data into UK datasets. The availability of these data allows researchers to take new approaches in studying associations between social factors and health. To take advantage of these opportunities researchers require knowledge about the basic concepts and terminology of molecular biology and genetic epidemiology, as well as the current context and prospects for genetics research.

AIMS – This introductory course will set the context for the current growth in genetic data and explain the basic principles of DNA and inheritance. Examples from behavioural research will be described and some future developments will be discussed.


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